Earth Science Graduates

VIU graduates from the BSc Major in Geoscience, as well as students who have completed the Minor in Earth Science share with us what they are doing now.

Nicole Dean HEG&Associates

Nicole Dean is a graduate of Spring 2020, our largest graduating class in the history of the BSc. Major in Geoscience program and currently working for  a mineral exploration company called HEG & Associates Exploration Services Inc. based out of Kelowna.

"I was lucky enough to get a soil sampling/ core shack job with them the summer of my third year of university and have been with them ever since. I’m working as an Exploration Geologist on multiple projects and deposit types, mostly in the Golden Triangle with a few other projects in Southern BC. I love my job because I get to be outside and explore beautiful remote locations that no-one has ever stepped foot on before. Every day in mineral exploration is a treasure hunt, and I get to use so many different methods on analysis with a field team to produce practical results in the hunt for valuable commodities. My advice for students if they would like to work in mineral exploration would be to take advantage (once Covid is over of course) of all of the practical opportunities, research projects and field time that we are offered at VIU. Hands-on experience is so valuable in many geology jobs."

Luke Wagner, also a Spring 2020 graduate, shares his journey...

"Having spent many years being an amateur rock-hound, I watched my shelves grow with rocks of which I had no idea how to classify. Hence, I felt that going back to school to learn about the geosciences would not only allow me to organize these rocks, but it would allow me to pursue a career in a field of sciences that I am genuinely passionate about. The past four years of university has allowed me to grow as an individual and gain the knowledge I once desired. I can now walk a terrain of my choosing, and much like reading a book, the landscape can tell stories of ancient floods, violent volcanoes, deep-seated pressures, and heat, or marine environment devoid of movement. These stories can even span billions of years, speaking of ancient terranes that have long disappeared, and are now a simple memory of geological time. Upon graduating, I now feel like I have the skills that will help me to project my dreams of becoming a geoscientist to reality."

Louis Chapdelaine, P.Geo.  Louis graduated with a BSc. Double Minor in Earth Science and Geography in 2014.  For him, highlights of the program were the field study courses that took them all over, from Open Bay on Quadra Island to the big Island of Hawaii plus local fossil beds in the Nanaimo area where he takes his kids fossil hunting today.  Louis completed a research project on 3D mapping sections of the Horne Lake cave system with the ultimate goal to build an interactive 3D map for public interaction.  His first geoscience job following graduation was with a coal exploration company out of Vancouver – Colonial Coal International Corporation.  A helicopter was his daily commuter to the project site near Tumbler Ridge in eastern BC.  Later, deciding to focus locally he found a job with a local geotechnical firm – Lewkowich Engineering Associates Ltd.  VIU had now developed the Geoscience Major and was offering enough courses to be recognized by Engineers and Geoscientists BC.  He enrolled to finish his EGBC course requirements and became a Geoscientist-in-Training (GIT).   Following another four years of work experience under a Geotechnical Engineer specializing in hazard assessments, Louis received his P.Geo designation in January of 2019. His work now involves hazard assessments (flood, slopes and undermining) for development projects as well quality assurance and acid rock drainage testing for some local quarries.  Louis states “I really enjoy my work and being part of an association of like-minded professionals”. 

Andres Cristancho is a graduate from the Geoscience Major program who is working in the Canadian petroleum industry. Highlights of his studies at VIU include field school to the Channeled Scablands (Eastern Washington), and the Student Industry Field Trip (SIFT) in Calgary, AB hosted by the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG). In addition to this he completed the Advanced Sedimentology (GEOL 470) and Applied Geophysics (GEOL 307) courses which have prepared him for a career as a sedimentologist. He plans continue to use this expertise in the petroleum industry in which he has prior experience working as a geophysics assistant in Mexico, as well as an exploration geologist in his native Colombia.

Charlea Taylor is a graduate from the Geoscience Major program and is currently working as a geoscientist in the local forestry sector. During the course of her studies at VIU she undertook a summer work placement with a local engineering firm which led to a full time role upon graduation. Places she has worked include Southgate River (Bute Inlet), Dalgleish Creek (Toba Inlet), and Klaskish Inlet.  In addition to this she completed the academic requirements for Geoscientist-In-Training (GIT) registration with APEGBC and is working towards her professional designation as a Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo). Working as a GIT in the forestry industry, Charlea conducts field assessments  regarding terrain stability, landslide hazard, and road construction/reactivation and creates reports to provide recommendations to minimize the impact of forestry development on the environment. 

Rhy McMillan VIU Earth Science Alumni

Rhy McMillan, BA, PhD, is a graduate from the Earth Science minor program which he completed alongside a major in Anthropology in 2013 for his BA degree. The highlights of his time at VIU include a series of internships, directed studies, and senior projects at Scladina Cave in Belgium as well as a geology field school in Ambergris Caye in Belize. Since graduating from VIU, Rhy has obtained a PhD in Geological Sciences from UBC’s Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences department (Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research). The title of his dissertation is “Micro-analytical geochemical and spectroscopic investigations of the original context and condition of archaeological biominerals and mineraloids”. Rhy is currently a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow at the Analytical Environmental and Geo-Chemistry (AMGC) Unit, Department of Chemistry, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium as well as a Research Associate at the UBC Department of Anthropology, Laboratory of Archaeology (LOA), and Museum of Anthropology (MOA).